We bought my grandaughter (shes 2) a second hand aqua start 320 tank about 2 years ago. We've had nothing but trouble with the water becoming cloudy within days of the water being changed. This despite cleaning as often as needed. This can be required every 3 to 4 days. We've tried numerous filters and water products. What is going wrong? As a last resort and to start over we have just ordered a brand new tank (the same type as its a perfect size), filter and gravel and we plan to ditch anything that has come into contact with the old tank i.e. plastic plants,features etc. As a novice fast running out of cash your advice would really be appreciated. Cheers Lusky
Hi Fishlady, Firstly without seeming ignorant, I don't mean to be, they are ordinary gold fish. Three of them. When the tank is cleaned the water is changed, gravel rinsed, plastic features scrubbed. The water is also treated with stress coat and more recently crystal water. The filter sponges are changed not washed. Thanks Paul
OK, there are a lot of problems here causing the cloudiness. Filters work by growing bacteria which "eat" the ammonia produced by the fish and convert it into less toxic chemicals. Two types of bacteria need to grow, one to convert ammonia to nitrite and the others to covert nitrite to nitrate. Nitrate is removed by regular partial water changes. It takes quite a while (weeks) for enough to grow to do this job so filter pads should be rinsed in tank water and reused, not changed as if you change them you go back to square one which not only causes the cloudiness you keep seeing, but also causes the fish to be burnt by the ammonia and have other health problems. Some of the bacteria lives in the gravel - washing the gravel destroys those too and changing all of the water at one go is yet another cause of bacterial blooms (the white cloud you see every time you clean the tank).
However, that is really the least of the problems as the tank is way too small to keep goldfish in and their own waste output is also contributing as the filter isn't adequate to cope, nor is there sufficient water volume. Ordinary common goldfish should be close to fully grown (10-12 inches long) at 2 years old, but I'm guessing these must have been stunted by the small tank as they literally should be too big to even fit in there by now.
To be honest, they need a much larger tank with the plan that after a year or so of conditions suitable for them to grow they are moved to a pond. Long term, they really aren't going to last in such a tiny tank and are currently suffering in there.
I hear what you say and I'm amazed! Surely if this is the case then surely thousands of pet shops the length and breadth of the country are selling goldfish without providing adequate advice. If you asked 99 percent of the average population they would state that a goldfish would be approximately 1 to 2 inches long and ideally suited as a family pet because an average tank is small compact and easy to locate. I've never heard of a goldfish growing to a foot long but I bow to your experience. Unfortunately a larger tank isn't feasible. I will continue to try and treat the fish the best I can and look after them to the best of my ability. The last thing I want is a pet suffering. Your advice has been appreciated and taken on board some of it will be put into practice. Thank you
That's exactly the issue - there ARE thousands of pet shops across the length and breadth of the country providing inaccurate "advice" regarding goldfish well-being. This is an issue as a fancy goldfish keeper that I don't see improving unfortunately, I mean they still give away goldfish as prizes at fairgrounds FFS, you wouldn't see them giving away cichlids but that's because goldfish are still treated as disposable "ten a penny" pets which is a cruel (and not to mention uneducated) attitude towards a living animal.
You have said you are going to treat the fish to the best of your ability, I can assure you that by continuing to keep them in their current state you are not treating the fish to their best of your ability and the fish are suffering.
My honest opinion is that pet shops are much more interested in selling the hardware (tank etc) than the couple of quid they make on the livestock.
When I read your post I thought '320 L tank, amazing' Just googled it and found out its a 28L tank. That's insanely small and sadly the fish will die in pretty short order. (they give off ammonia, which is toxic to them, same way we breath out carbon dioxide, which will kill us if we don't have a big enough volume of air)
Might be best to find a pond for the goldfish, and get a bigger tank, with smaller type of fish !
I'm positive you know your stuff but don't EVER treat me like a child. No its not JUST a goldfish! Perhaps you should read the title " novice" that's the clue, you've done little to promote the hobby. For the record I bought a new tank,filter and all the kit that I could. Perhaps not good enough in your eyes but never the less I tried. The tank is clean the fish ARE alive and I do not want them to suffer. I guess as I'm doing everything wrong I could take them to the toilet!. You've made me very cross. If this is how you offer advice to newbies then take your group and shove it up your ariator. Or be a little more sympathetic to those who are newbies and ignorant to the hobby.